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Search for heavy neutral leptons decaying into muon-pion pairs in the MicroBooNE detector

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  • MicroBooNE collaboration
Article number052001
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review D
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished
Early online date4/03/20
Original languageEnglish


We present upper limits on the production of heavy neutral leptons (HNLs) decaying to $\mu \pi$ pairs using data collected with the MicroBooNE liquid-argon time projection chamber (TPC) operating at Fermilab. This search is the first of its kind performed in a liquid-argon TPC. We use data collected in 2017 and 2018 corresponding to an exposure of $2.0 \times 10^{20}$ protons on target from the Fermilab Booster Neutrino Beam, which produces mainly muon neutrinos with an average energy of $\approx 800$ MeV. HNLs with higher mass are expected to have a longer time-of-flight to the liquid-argon TPC than Standard Model neutrinos. The data are therefore recorded with a dedicated trigger configured to detect HNL decays that occur after the neutrino spill reaches the detector. We set upper limits at the $90\%$ confidence level on the element $\lvert U_{\mu4}\rvert^2$ of the extended PMNS mixing matrix in the range $\lvert U_{\mu4}\rvert^2